Pezo von Ellrichshausen creates monolithic Less pavilion in Canberra

Children entering the Less pavilion in Canberra

Chilean studio Pezo von Ellrichshausen has completed a pavilion-like artwork in Canberra, Australia, comprising 36 concrete columns and a circular ramp that leads up to a viewpoint.

Named Less, the monolithic structure was designed for local property developer Molonglo as “part public artwork, part public space”.

Concrete pavilion in Australia
Pezo von Ellrichshausen has created the Less artwork in Canberra

Pezo von Ellrichshausen‘s aim for the pavilion is for it to serve as a versatile landmark that can be used and interpreted in different ways.

It forms a key point of interest at the heart of Dairy Road – an evolving commercial and residential neighbourhood in Canberra’s East Lake being developed by Molonglo.

Artwork composed of 36 concrete pillars
The pavilion-like artwork comprises 36 concrete columns

“An intentionally ambiguous structure, Less will contribute to the evolving social landscape at Dairy Road by providing a landmark and gathering place,” said Pezo von Ellrichshausen.

“Avoiding a deterministic or transactional approach to use and presence, Less invites the evolving community to interact with and occupy its varied spaces as they see fit.”

Close-up photo of Less pavilion by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
A ramp leads up to a viewpoint within the pillars

With a square plan, the Less structure is designed by Pezo von Ellrichshausen to be deliberately simple.

Its identical concrete columns are arranged in a regular six-by-six grid, creating a uniform aesthetic on all sides.

Person looking up at Less Pavilion by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
The columns are identical in size for a uniform look

“In its monotonous gesture, in its tedious regularity as much as in its lack of direction, bold columns and slender pillars erode any other function than that of framing every other function,” explained the studio.

“Many events are allowed in unlabelled places,” it continued.

Water pumped up through the pillars trickles down their outer surfaces before pooling at their bases, flowing beneath the structure and dropping down a series of steps.

A ramp beginning at the base of the columns sweeps outwards and around in a loop before rejoining exactly above its start point.

Concrete columns of Canberra artwork
Water trickles down their outer surfaces

This ramp provides access to a viewing platform suspended among the pillars, from which visitors can look out across the Dairy Road district.

The ground surrounding Less is populated with 6,000 plants of over 50 different species, which will gradually soften the landscape and is intended to provide a reminder of the site’s pre-colonial heritage.

Base of Less Pavilion in Canberra
The water pools at the base of the structure

Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen founded their studio Pezo von Ellrichshausen in 2002. The duo live and work in the southern Chilean city of Concepcion.

The studio hopes that the Less pavilion will invite personal contemplation as visitors stop to listen to the running water and the sound of the wind blowing through the columns.

Pezo von Ellrichshausen’s previous projects include a yellow-concrete house in the mountains outside Santiago and a narrow house on Chile’s Coliumo Peninsula that juts out towards the Pacific Ocean.

The photography is by Rory Gardiner courtesy of Molonglo.

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